the armature modifier

I’ve been jumping around the blender noob to pro book and doing the odd tutorial in my ongoing journey to collect all the blender skills and become the ultimate blender (blendermon!), but I’ve run into a problem:

Thismakes no sense to me. Sometimes I have little problems, but thismakes absolutely no sense to me. How do I use the modifier to make an armature and what exactly is the advantage here?

If you can help me out, then :). If I can actually understand it, then you move all the way up to :D.

The modifier only “connects” the mesh to an armature. It doesn’t make the armature.

To build the armature, use the Gus Part II tutorial here.

Note that the Gus tutorial uses the old “parent armature” method. If you want to use the new “modifier” method then ignore the “skinning” part of that tutorial and instead you select the mesh and add an armature modifier to it. You put the name of your armature (default: Armature) in the Ob: space and choose vertex groups or envelopes (not usually both). If you choose vertex groups then you’ll have to make vertex grous in your model with names matching their bone. If you choose envelopes, you’ll need to mess with the deform zones.

Hopefully that’ll get you started and give you more stuff to search for.

The armature modifier lets you DEFORM you mesh by an armature, not MAKE an armature. Firstly, you need an armature, and if you don’t know how to make one, read about that BEFORE worrying about this.


thanks guys.

Hey Aligorith,

Since you’ve been deep into the code “jungle”, and have connected your constraints to the armature system, have you been able to see the difference between parenting an armature to a mesh vs the armature modifer ? … And especially after pressing the ‘make real’ button, is there any difference at all internally ? I’ve yet to see a good explanation of the differences, only the repeated advice that the “modifier is better”, without any real explanation of why.

Or are those details in another ‘neck of the forest’, that you haven’t explored yet ? :slight_smile:

Another note on the first link, is that the author(s) mentioned that the ‘parenting’ method is “only” useful if you want to move the “Armature itself”, which I take to mean the Armature in Object mode. Well there are plenty of times when I DO want to move the Armature in Object mode, actually more to the point is that if you want to Scale the Armature and the attached mesh, then it has to be in Object mode. I just did a quck test with the ‘non-parented’ method, and the Scale-Armature-Object-Mode didn’t seem to work properly on the mesh. I’ll do a more extensive test later.


Ok, I looked it over again. I tried to do the things you told me to do.

I’m still clueless.

I’m sorry! I’m sorry!

I know how to make an armature the old way. I even know how to rig a whole setup the old way. I just want to learn the new way.

Oh, and Andy? I loved your key shape tutorial. I haven’t done it for lipsyncing yet, but I made a sweet earthquake scene using them.

If all the other modifiers are half as useful as the lattice is, then I would love any resources you’ve got on them, but what i’m most interested in is figuring out this armature thing.

I am but a humble student, teach me oh great ones!

Ok, I’m no Blender or Armature expert, more like novice status, but I wouldn’t sweat it about the ‘new’ way.

As I mentioned before, I’ve yet to read any concise documenation that explains why the “new way” is any better than the “old” way.

In fact I see several disadvantages to the “new way”

  • you have to go ALL… the way over to the edit buttons panel and and an
    armature modifier, then manually type in the armature name :smiley:

  • you have to create and name all your vertex groups manually

  • if you want to resize the armature and mesh (in object mode), it doesn’t work

If, on the other hand you do it the “old way”, you get :

  • (optional) - automatic vertex group creation / naming

  • ability to scale the armature+mesh

… and if you then press ‘Make Real’ in the modifier panel, you end up with an Armature modifier anyway, and I’ve yet to find any docs, or perform any tests that indicates it behaves any differently than if you had added the modifer manually … and the vertex groups manually.

So what’s the great benefit of the “New Way” ??? :confused: :confused:


I have been trying to get an animated mesh into the game engine Blitz3D through various file transformations. I have noticed that most if not all example .blends I get with the assortment of exporters I have been playing around with. have the armature joined to the mesh the “old way” even the newest released versions.(since the modifier stack) I don’t know why, but it makes me think their is a difference.

I use the old-new way :slight_smile: I make the model, add the armature then CTRL-P>Armature>No groups.

Then I go to the modifiers panel and press “Make Real” and choose vertex groups (you can use envelopes if you like - I’ve never tried them - but I believe vertex groups are still recommended as the “best” way).

Then I manually set my vertex groups - firstly by selecting verts and making groups then tweaking later by weight painting.

You could even auto-create the groups individually by selecting a bone in pose mode, then selecting the mesh then Ctrl-TAB (weight-paint) and start painting. Select different bones and paint a litte for each one and a group will automatically be created, properly named, for that bone. … I think (can’t check at the moment).

The only benefit I can see in using the modifier is that it is consistent with the new ways of doing stuff. It also gives you access to the Vertex/Envelopes option but I think you can set this in the mesh panel anyway (however, I believe this alternative option is only there for backward compatibility so maybe it will disappear down the track?). I think Mike that this is the same situation I/we faced with the lattice deformer. Parent and modifier work on different data - parent>object, modifer>mesh.

In theory, you shouldn’t need to parent the mesh to the armature because you should have a root bone (every bone ultimately parented to it) on the skeleton that performs all the major transformations such as displacing the character during a walk-cycle - and since this bone moves all the others, the modifier then moves all the mesh. In practice however, there’s a strong likelihood that you’re going to grab the armature in object mode and move it to a start location and if you haven’t parented, the mesh won’t follow :frowning:

Whiplash: Thanks. I have opened up a page on the noob-pro wiki to add a Lattice tutorial but haven’t written anything yet. Hope to get some basics up there soon. Then I’ll hopefully get “bouncing-ball part two” written. I might even do some more in-depth stuff on making good mouth shapes using shape keys.